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11 Sept 2017

Ignore Oracle Database Administration at your Peril

You know that spongy feeling in your car brakes that you ignore at your peril? Or the widening crack in the outside wall of your house? That’s your enterprise Oracle database: the foundation of your business; something you rely on daily – though you probably take it for granted.


The problem is, a failing database can be catastrophic for the business, with unplanned downtime affecting operations, revenues and customers. So, whether your Oracle database is running well or showing signs of distress, this blog is for you.

Believe it or not, the relational database (RDBMS) goes back to the 1970s. IBM’s System R research project developed a prototype system but it was Oracle that released the first commercial RDBMS in 1979. Database support, therefore, is one of the longest-running managed service in outsourced support.

It means you could be forgiven if the DBA support of your Oracle database has become part of the wallpaper. However, it’s a good time to look at it again. As businesses evolve and transform, the pressure on their databases has never been greater.

These days, businesses demand more from their data. For example, websites are exposing more of the enterprise database to customers than ever before, sucking data out or putting information in. But many organisations implemented their Oracle databases well before they gave customers such close access to important information or processes.

As more and more internal and external customers access the system, the enterprise’s databases require greater scalability, availability, performance and, of course, security. The latter is as much to kerb inadvertent internal data breaches as to stop malicious outsiders attacking the business at its core. As each day passes, the level of risk is rising: the risk of inefficiency, failure and compromise.

The Reality of Database Failure

In 2011, Sony’s PlayStation network was compromised. Data of 77 million people, including credit card and address details, had been accessed and downloaded. This was caused because Sony used an old, un-patched web server with known security issues which was connected to the Internet without proper firewalls, plus their configuration was insecure. An effective DBA support service would have meant the company was aware of these issues and remedial action could have been taken before the expensive and embarrassing data breach occurred.

The risk goes far beyond security – though data privacy, security and compliance should drive your business to ensure your Oracle database is watertight. The risk is to the business as a whole.

The database is like the bottom plate in a stack of plates, far removed from your users, the website or customer-facing applications at the top. But if the bottom layer has a problem, nothing above it works as it should, in other words, the business grinds to a halt.

One of Claremont’s customers is an international transport business, for whom we support their critical finance and payroll database via Claremont’s Managed Service. They use this system to pay 20,000 employees weekly and monthly. If it stops working properly, these individuals don’t get paid, and that’s guaranteed to generate bad publicity.

Another customer has a finance system that is geared up to generate multi-million pound invoices one day in the month. Again, if those invoices can’t be raised, or even if the system runs slowly, the business is in trouble.

We also run a massive membership system for a large national organisation, whose customers rely on their Oracle database to manage their details and book tickets.

Countering the Risk

All of these databases are critical for the organisations in question, but so are those more mundane Oracle systems that run in the background day in and day out, which is why it’s essential not to overlook database support. Many businesses have a pressing need for database admin professionals who won’t leave their database unattended, or skip updates, and know the technicalities of running an Oracle database proactively: day in, day out.

By choosing Claremont’s Oracle database Managed Service, you ensure you always have access to qualified engineers, our consultants have an average of 20 years’ experience, who will make sure your systems are proactively maintained, patched and optimised, so they stay highly-functional, performant and secure. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the cost savings, our customers report an average 51% saving, from not recruiting and retaining specialists or managing underwhelming third party providers, and instead liberate your IT team to focus on activities that will advance the business.

Whether you have a gap in your Oracle DBA support, use in-house staff or a third party provider, we’re convinced, based on what customers tell us, that we can provide a better service. If this blog has stirred you to revisit your database management, why not read more about Claremont’s database Managed Service here?